Brazil downplays missing FIFA’s stadium deadline

The Brazilian government has brushed aside the importance of

more delays in completing 2014 World Cup stadiums, saying that

missing FIFA’s deadline will not affect the country’s ability to

successfully host next year’s tournament.

A day after FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke said three

stadiums would not be ready in time for the Dec. 31 deadline,

Brazilian officials said they actually plan to deliver all six

remaining venues after that date.

They claim only three are delayed, with the other three being

handed over after the expected date only because of problems

accommodating the schedule of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff,

who wants to be present for the ceremonies.

”In every wedding that I attended the bride was late. I’ve

never seen a bride arrive on time. But I’ve never seen a wedding

not happen because of that,” Brazil’s Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo

said. ”It’s probable that there will be a delay here or there, but

nothing too significant. What is important is that all of the

stadiums will be ready.”

FIFA has already said it will have to change plans at the venues

because of the delivery delays. FIFA Marketing Director Thierry

Weil said the schedule for the release of tickets has already been

slightly altered because the seating plans have not been finalized,

and football’s governing body said other areas will also be

affected.

”Due to the reduced timeline, FIFA, the LOC, government and

stadium authorities are adjusting the stadium operational program

to ensure that the stadiums are delivered and host events prior to

the FIFA World Cup without compromising on safety or quality,”

FIFA said in a statement.

Brazilian officials reiterated there was no reason for

concern.

”We are in a much more advanced stage at this point in time

than we were before the Confederations Cup,” Brazil’s deputy

sports minister Luis Fernandes said. ”In March, there were still

doubts whether the Maracana would be ready for the final. We are in

a much better position now. The only doubt we have is related to

the Sao Paulo stadium.”

Sao Paulo remains the biggest question mark after a crane

collapse last week killed two workers and damaged part of the

stadium. A report on the scale of the damage is expected by the end

of the week.

But there is still confusion about the delivery date of the

other five stadiums that aren’t ready, with the government, local

World Cup organizers and FIFA saying different things. The other

six World Cup stadiums were ready for the Confederations Cup.

Valcke had said that in addition to Sao Paulo, the southern city

of Curitiba and the wetlands city of Cuiaba also would not be ready

to deliver their stadiums by the end of the year as expected. He

said they would likely be ready in January or February.

Rebelo, the government official in charge of Brazil’s

preparations for the World Cup and the 2016 Rio Olympics, said

Wednesday that the stadium in Porto Alegre was also delayed, and

that all six remaining stadiums will be only be delivered in

January.

The local World Cup organizing committee had said that only Sao

Paulo and Curitiba were facing delays, and that Curitiba might not

be ready until March.

”They will all be delivered with enough time for the test

events that are needed before the World Cup,” Rebelo said.

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